Paramedics Life saving angels

When we make way for a speeding ambulance to reach to its intended destination at the earliest possible time, we usually think of the patient being ferried to hospital; rarely do we think of the team on duty.
The Harare Base Manager for Emergency Medical Rescue Ambulance Service (EMRAS), Mr Guide Muwunganirwa said they have the unenviable role of attending to emergency situations that are mainly life threatening.

“A paramedic is a healthcare professional, predominantly in the pre-hospital and out-of-hospital environment, working mainly as part of emergency medical services to rescue those involved in disasters like accidents and floods.

Also, we assist people in critical conditions such as overdue pregnancies,” he said.

Mr Muwunganirwa trained as an ambulance technician with Medical Air Rescue Service (MARS) in 2009 at a time when the company was the only one providing the course.

He said their work is characterised by emergencies.

“In a hospital, several staff are around, security is available and conditions are somewhat controlled.

But for us we work outdoors, in the rain, in the dark and in dangerous conditions like floods,” he said.

He narrated the challenges that come with the job.

“I wake up early in the morning and quickly take a bath. It’s a 24-hour job, the phone can ring anytime.

“We start every morning with brief meetings and deliberating on issues that might be affecting the junior paramedics.

After that we check our ambulances to see if everything is in a good condition.

The vehicles are washed at the bay,” he said.

Mr Muwunganirwa went down memory lane, sharing the events of a day that he will never forget.

“I will never forget the day when a bus that was travelling from Mutoko to Harare burst its tyres and veered off the road, hitting a tree in the process.

“Upon arriving at the scene to assess the accident, we discovered that there were six bodies with their heads cut off.

As we were looking for the heads, we only found five and the other one was missing.

“Up to today I still tremble when that comes to my mind.

That was my first day to attend to such as accident scene,” he narrated.

“You may have the know-how of saving a life but when you are at level one, there are some procedures that you are not allowed to do.

A person can die in your arms.”

He also spoke of intense traffic jams and stubborn drivers who ignore the ambulance’s siren.

“The biggest problem I have met while on duty is an intense traffic jam. Sometimes you run out of options and just have to wait in the jam with the rest of the cars.

“It is sickening, especially when you know that there is someone who needs to be rushed to the hospital,” he said.

“Our principle is to save lives and promote healing.

As long as we are on the scene, we try by all means to save lives. ” he said.

Mr Muwunganirwa believes that his job is a calling from God to save lives.

“Working as a paramedic is a calling. It started in the Bible when that Good Samaritan helped an individual who had been robbed on his way home in Luke 10 v 25.

“After that it found its way in the military a long time ago during wars. Aging soldiers were responsible for assisting the injured soldiers by removing them from the battlefield and providing some form of care.”

Mr Muwunganirwa said parademics wish to receive world class training and state of the art helicopters to avoid traffic jams and other unnecessary problems during the execution of their duties.

“We help everyone, including those without money or medical aid services as we uphold our principal of saving lives.

We help anyone in critical conditions, as long as th ey would have called us.

That is why we ask for the Government to help us with funds,” he said.

For one to be a paramedic, they need to have five Ordinary Level passes including Maths, English and Science.

A Class 2 or 4 driver’s license is also a requirement.

Apart from having attained a medical fitness training certificate and a basic first aid course, interested individuals will undergo a theoretical and practical course for five weeks.

A score of 84 percent and above qualifies them for further training in the field. – Sunday Mail

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